It's not too late! Though winter is almost upon us, if you have not taken care of your patio furniture for the winter, now is the time
I don't know where you live, but in my part of the north country, winter cold has definitely set in, and if you haven't yet taken care of your patio furniture and other outdoor items for the winter, you had better do it soon before the snow flies! It seems that there are a handful of things that must be taken care of every fall to prepare for the winter, and it is easy to get caught off guard with things left undone, unless you plan in advance. So, what do you need to do to prepare your patio furniture for winter storage?
Well, it depends what you have. First, for basic patio furniture, what type do you have? By this I mean material. It may be wrought iron, resin (i.e. - heavy duty plastic to us lay people), wicker, aluminum or wood. And wood is never just wood, it is teak, cedar, red wood, oak, pine etc. Let's take a look at each of these.
If maintained, your wrought iron furniture should last a long time, but you should be aware that it can rust. Most wrought iron pieces designed for the outdoors are treated to help prevent rust. This can include a powder coating or galvanizing. The most effective of these two is galvanized wrought iron. Iron treated this way is impervious to rust, power coating is not as effective. I would assume that the amount of protection wrought iron furniture has is often reflected in its cost. If you are not sure about the level of protection your wrought iron has, then you should treat it on a regular basis (or whenever rust appear) with boiled linseed oil. So, basically, before storing your iron patio furniture, dry if off really well and if you see any signs of rust, then treat with linseed oil.
Resin patio furniture is very sturdy and lasts a long time without any real need of treatment. I would recommend at least wiping it down if needed, but even that can wait for spring if you do not feel like doing it right now.
Wicker patio furniture does need care or it will quickly show the effects of the weather. Because of this, it is good to regularly repaint your wicker with an outdoor protective paint. Besides protection, it also keeps you wicker looking like new. You can either do this in the fall, or in the spring, whichever you prefer. But be aware that it does need doing whenever you start to see cracks in the coating. This coating keeps the wicker underneath from being exposed to the elements.
Aluminum will rust, so if you have this problem, you first need to remove the rust by using a scuffing pad and a wire brush. Once the rust has been removed, wipe the area down really well to remove all dust and then apply an outdoor paint. This will make you aluminum patio furniture last a lot longer and look new again. Then store your furniture for the season.
When it comes to wood, different types require different forms of treatment. Cedar, red wood and teak patio furniture is great outdoors and need no treatment unless desired. Most other woods need regular treatment with a polyurethane, paint or stain or they may warp or crack. Either spring or fall is a great time to take care of this. Otherwise, a cleaning is all that is needed.
After cleaning and any needed treatment, your main goal is to remove your patio furniture from inclement weather. Patio furniture covers works great, especially in milder climates. Another option is to stack it all safely in a covered area (if possible) or at least near the house, and cover with a tarp. The best option is to store it away (still covered, if possible) in a garage or storage shed. The main goal is to protect it from the ravages of winter so that you can get as many years as possible out of your patio furniture set.